Art museums are fascinating places and should be accessible to everyone. However, so many people have never been because they don’t know what to do there or make the most of their visit. Don’t fear, the Heritage Lab is here. Here’s some tips and tricks to plan the best first visit to an art museum ever. Let’s begin!
1. Prep it up
Trust us, it really helps to check out the museum’s website before visiting. Not only will you be aware of basic information like timings, facilities or any upcoming events you could catch, but you’ll also get to know what the museum is most famous for. If you have some idea about its collections before going, you’ll be able to direct yourself better. You could even search our website for quick museum guides !
2.Take a tour
While looking online, keep an eye out for any guided tours the museum offers and their timings. A well informed guide can help you contextualize the art work to get a peek into the mind of the artist or the period in which it was based. Even taking an audio guide is a good investment and the best part about it is that you can do it at your own pace. While you’re there, keep your eyes peeled for any informational pamphlets or DIY trails. For example, our tour of the Badass Women at the National Museum Delhi or the Director’s Picks at CSMVS Mumbai is a good place to start.
3. Taking Kids on a first visit to the art museum ?
Whether you’re an Educator, Parent or scoring points with nephews /nieces : Museums are perfect for a family day out. It will be worth the effort to look for any activity kits or downloadable worksheets online or at the museum before going. It will help keep the kids busy and engage with art better. This could be replicated for a birthday party or a school trip as well. Check out the museum schedule for any child friendly workshops/events and plan accordingly. Take a look at our Fun at Museums pack which can be used at *almost* any museum.
4. Time yourself
We recommend short visits of an hour or two at a time and sticking to a few galleries. This lets you savour what you’re looking at. Don’t stress yourself out to see everything (which to be honest, is near impossible for bigger museums). Also, if possible, try going at a time when it’s likely to be less crowded. That way, you can spend more time with each artwork.
5. Find some company
If going on your own is not your thing, take along friends and giggles. Museum dates are fun too. Pretend abstract art is a Rorschach test and figure out your SO’s personality. Plus, museum campuses often have cafés so combine the visit with lunch.
6. Don’t forget to buy (or make) some memories!
— HeritageLab 🏛🤺 (@MedhaviGandhi) January 4, 2019
Museum gift shops have the most amazing things! From bookmarks to jewellery, to Tshirts to fridge magnets, there’s something for everyone.
So, you’re at the museum. Now what? Why not try these simple hacks on what to look when looking at art!
- While looking at an object or artwork, think of the four Ws and one H. When was this made? Who made it and for whom? Why was it made? How did they make it? What did it mean to them, what does it mean now?
- Think of the mood, the composition and its effect on you. What does it remind you of?
- Go up close (but don’t touch!) and notice the detail. Personally, I love looking at how different artists do hands in portraits. I am always uncomfortable what to do with mine when getting clicked, and that is good inspiration 😛
- Engaging with art doesn’t need to end up as a hard stare. Be playful! You can pose with the artwork or take a selfie (and don’t forget to tag us!)(Museum Selfie Day coming up on Jan 16! -hint hint-).
- Practice your skills as a photographer. There’s much you can learn about Photography from an art museum !!
- Draw what you see or attempt to trace the artist’s brushstrokes and patterns. Or if you’re not into drawing, think of the process – what part of the artwork would have been created first?
- Think of context. Think about where the art is now and where you’d like to keep it at home, in school or at an office.
- Make it fun for yourself , enjoy your personal interpretations and check out if any of the artworks are meme-worthy!
Srishti is an abundantly curious individual who counts history, poetry and chocolate as her many first loves. As the Editor of The Heritage Lab she does her bit to breathe fresh life into how museums are perceived in India. She’s currently studying Cultural Anthropology at the University College, London.